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Valley of the Shadow: A Great Learning Tool

Sometimes I come upon something that totally demonstrates the power of the Internet as a place for classroom education. The Valley of the Shadow is one of those places. It’s been around for a long time and maybe everyone already knows about it, but I didn’t so I will share here. It is a project that every historical society in America–nay in the world–should emulate. Here is the descripiton:

The Valley of the Shadow is a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War. Here you may explore thousands of original documents that allow you to see what life was like during the Civil War for the men and women of Augusta and Franklin.

The Valley of the Shadow is different than many other history websites. It is more like a library than a single book. There is no “one” story in the Valley Project. Rather, what you’ll find are thousands of letters and diaries, census and government records, newspapers and speeches, all of which record different aspects of daily life in these two counties at the time of the Civil War. As you explore the extensive archive and you’ll find that you can flip through a Valley resident’s Civil War diary, read what the county newspapers reported about the battle of Gettysburg, or even search the census records to see how much the average citizen owned in 1860 or 1870.

Here are the teaching resources.

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